The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Tuesday, July 09, 2002  

Rest Well and in Peace Until We Meet Again

One of the most remarkable women I have ever known passed away last week, on July 3, 2002. It wasn’t a surprise. After all, she was 82 years old, and had been in failing health for several years. And I learned on July 2 that she had been given the last rites on July 1.

The final days were not entirely pleasant, for her, her family, or her friends. But I know she is at peace. I know she is in a better place. And I know she is abiding in a joy we cannot fathom.

And yet I grieve. I mourn. I cry. And there is more.

I am proud. Proud to have known her. Proud of her exceptional service to our country during World War II, the details of which no one can ever know. Proud to have relayed her life’s accomplishments with friends. And proud to call her family.

I am grateful. Grateful for her generosity. Grateful for her encouragement. Grateful for her gentle kindness. And grateful for her love.

I am honored. Honored by her interest in me. Honored by her admiration. Honored by her devotion and care. And honored to have led the family’s last prayers before her funeral.

I am blessed. Blessed to have witnessed the devotion of her husband during her final years. Blessed to have grown up with her beautiful and accomplished children nearby. Blessed to watch her grandchildren begin to take their place in this world. And blessed to see her at peace at last.

And I am pleased. Pleased to have made her laugh. Pleased to have made her proud. Pleased to know her life was full. And pleased to know that she has gloriously passed into eternal life.

Yesterday, in addition to leading the recitation of the Rosary, I read four traditional Irish prayers -- one each in an acknowledgement of the Irish shamrock and in honor of Nora’s four surviving sisters, Marion, Patt, Terry, and Connie, -- including the Prayer to the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Knock, a selection from the writings of St. Brigid, a prayer to St. Dymphna, and St. Patrick’s Breastplate, the last three in veneration of Ireland’s most revered saints.

For those not familiar with these prayers, I would like to share them with you here today.

Four Irish Prayers

Prayer to Our Lady of Knock
Our Lady of Knock, Queen of Ireland, you gave hope to our people in a time of distress and comforted them in sorrow. You have inspired countless pilgrims to pray with confidence to your divine Son, remembering His promise: “Ask and you shall receive, Seek and you shall find.” Help me to remember that we are all pilgrims on the road to heaven. Fill me with love and concern for my brothers and sisters in Christ, especially those who live with me. Comfort me when I am sick or lonely or depressed. Teach me how to take part ever more reverently in the holy Mass. Pray for me now, and at the hour of my death. Amen.

A Reading from the Works of St. Brigid
I would like the angels of heaven to be among us. I would like an abundance of peace. I would like full vessels of charity. I would like rich treasures of mercy. I would like cheerfulness to preside over all. I would like Jesus to be present. I would like the three Marys of illustrious renown to be with us. I would like the friends of heaven to be gathered around us from all parts. I would like myself to be a rent payer to the Lord; that I should suffer distress, that he would bestow a good blessing upon me. I would like a great lake of beer for the King of Kings. I would like to be watching heaven’s family drinking it through all eternity. Amen.

A Prayer to St. Dymphna
Lord, our God, you graciously chose St. Dymphna as patroness of those afflicted with mental and nervous disorders. She is thus an inspiration and a symbol of charity to the thousands who ask her intercession. Please grant, Lord, through the prayers of this pure youthful martyr, relief and consolation to all suffering such trials, and especially those for whom we pray. We beg you, Lord, to hear the prayers of St. Dymphna on our behalf. Grant all those for whom we pray patience in their sufferings and resignation to your divine will. Please fill them with hope, and grant them the relief and cure they so much desire. We ask this through Christ our Lord who suffered agony in the garden. Amen.

St. Patrick’s Breastplate
May the strength of God guide me this day, and his power preserve me. May the wisdom of God instruct me; the eye of God watch over me; the ear of God hear me; the word of God give sweetness to my speech; the hand of God defend me; and may I follow the way of God. Christ be with me, Christ before me, Christ be after me, Christ within me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ at my right hand, Christ at my left, Christ in the fort, Christ in the chariot, Christ in the ship, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me, Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks to me. Christ in every eye that sees me. Christ in every ear that hears me. Amen.


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